Education: Is there a best form?

For you, it’s just another normal day: wake up, go to school, come home, work on homework. Except, it’s not a normal day. On the TV it says that school has been canceled for almost all Detroit Public School students, where you attend. Why would they be canceling school on a random day in May? Well, according to the news, it seems as though the teachers at most DPS schools had planned a sick-out as a protest over extreme financial concerns regarding DPS’s inability to make payroll. Where will you go from here? How will you be able to have an education when your teachers aren’t being paid?

On May 2, 2016, 94 of the 97 schools in the Detroit Public Schools were closed due to a sickout, which is when a mass quantity of teachers call in sick, subsequently causing the schools to close. It was because of Emergency Transition Manager Judge Steven Rhodes’ update on the state of the DPS’s finances, stating that $48.7 million in emergency state aid would run out on June 30, 2016, and would most likely not be able to make payroll, that the teacher’s union called for a sickout. There were also a number of sickouts in January because of teachers’ concerns over some of the deplorable conditions in some of the schools. Some of these schools had severe water damage, including mold, as well as dead vermin.

The decline in Detroit’s schools has raised a lot of questions over school funding and methods of education. The Detroit Public Schools aren’t the only schools struggling in the U.S. It is often that schools in poor areas do worse than schools in nicer areas. Places like Chicago, which is notorious for its struggle in poverty and crime, have seen issues because of poor management. With the recent confirmation of billionaire Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, talk of education has become a main focus after allegations that she may not be qualified enough for the position.

With problems like these going on within schools districts, many people are turning to charter or private schools. According to the National Charter Resource Center, a charter school is most easily defined as public school “operating under a ‘charter,’ essentially a contract entered into between the school and its authorizing agency.” Charter schools also have considerable autonomy over specific educational objectives that allows them to make decisions over curriculum, employees and budget. Charter schools are funded by public money and are not allowed to charge tuition. On the other hand are private schools, which are privately funded by tuition, private grants, fundraising and alumni. Private schools can choose their curriculum and do not have to follow state guidelines.

Public schools, private schools and charter schools- are any of the methods better than the other? Study after study has come out about this school and that school. This one is better because of this or this school is worse because of this. All of the conflicting studies can be confusing for parents who want their kid to have a great education. The inconsistent findings most arguably means that there is no better form of education.

Chartered schools are championed for their progressive methods of teaching and accountability. There have been a number of successful charter schools that have people raving about how wonderful and new age they are. On the other hand, charter schools close at a very high rate. According to the, in Texas, around 143 Charter schools have closed since the beginning on the program in 1998. It is also because of charter schools’ significant autonomy that standards can either be higher or lower than state standards.

Most notorious is the struggle between private and public school. Between the two, there are a number of pros and cons. Private schools do not always require their teachers to have state certifications. Private schools will also generally have smaller class sizes, but there can be times that the class sizes can be bigger than public schools. Private schools have practically no government regulation on their curriculum which can either benefit or take away from an education depending on the standards.

There is no perfect form of schooling. Everything has give and take. Some schools will perform better than others, but that’s not to say it is because of the type of school that makes it best. Detroit is lacking a lot of funding. There is nothing saying that it couldn’t be a great school district, but because of the lack of funds going towards the schools, students are being put into an environment that is in a way setting them up for failure. The problems surrounding education cannot be limited to school type. Time and money and thought are the things most important for education. Money is not always the most important, but giving students resources to work with is very important. Breaking books, chairs, and ceilings are all things that detract from a learning environment. Thought is somethings that is vital to the learning system. Teachers who care and play an active role in trying to help their students is something that incites students to want to work harder. A teacher that hates their job and just comes to school and leaves without any real care for their students will create student apathy. Why try hard when it matters to no one?

At the end of the day it is also up to the students to try their hardest and want to succeed. Not everything can be blamed on the system. It is often a people problem. Students could have all of the resources in the world and still fail because they failed to care about their own education. Education is the building block for the rest of one’s life, and to discount it can mean a less than great future.